Wendys chiliI am not a food snob and will admit to eating fast foods when in a bind. What are the fast foods I love?  Well I like Del Taco hard shell beef tacos. They are so inexpensive, and delicious. I’ve loved tacos since I was a kid. I like the Jack in the Box Jumbo Jack.  I like McDonald’s French fries, which when still hot, taste almost buttery. I like McDonald’s filet o’ fish sandwich.

One of my worst, fast food experiences has been Wendy’s chili. Now I love chili. I remember it was back in 1988, and I stopped at a Wendy’s drive-through and bought a cup of Wendy’s chili. Later the next day, I got sick, very sick. I broke out in a cold sweat, could not hold my food down, and was bed ridden with a fever. I was sick for a week. I had gastro-intestinal problems with severe diarrhea. It was so bad, I went to the doctors. I was diagnosed with an Escherichia Coli (E-Coli) infection. They took down the details where and what I had eaten the days before I got sick. The one suspect I had was Wendy’s chili. I thought about the chunks of hamburger patty floating in it as they kept it warm through-out the day. It was not hot, but kind of a tepid, warm. It would be the perfect incubator for the fecal bacteria which are the cause of E-Coli infection.

Incubating chili

I would have this experience a second time in 2004. Both times I was told by my doctor that it was serious, and that it could have been fatal. I reported these experiences to the Health board. A report was made each time. However both Wendy’s never closed down, were never shut down and continued to do business.  So I simply avoided their chili. One time I ordered one of their Mexican salads, and to my horror, when served I found that they had simply dumped their chili on a pile of lettuce.


Anyway I have shared this experience several times over the years whenever the topic of food poisoning is brought up. Recently my daughter forward me an interesting article which seems to confirm my fears…

It all makes sense now. When chili is on a very highly populated menu, there is a chance it will be reused, reheated, and allowed to “incubate” so that whatever bacteria which live on the cutting boards, and under employee’s fingernails have the ideal, dark, warm, environment to grow and thrive.


Needless to say, even though I love a good bowl of chili, I will never again order it from Wendy’s. Maybe I just had bad luck; because Wendy’s keeps dishing it out.



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